by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, November 30, 2012

Orcus on Station

 A simulation of Orcus' orbit as example of Plutino-class objects, all of which orbit in a 2:3 (2-to-3) resonance with planet Neptune

We don’t talk much about Orcus. Then again, there isn’t much written about Orcus the (Roman) god, and having only been discovered in 2004, the celestial object hasn’t been around long enough for astrologers to have built up their huzzahs and grudges about it.

(Yes, astrologers do such things. Some love Saturn, some loathe Saturn. Some are all juicy and into Pluto, some would just rather avoid the whole Plutonic subject.)

What we do know about Orcus is that it’s a Plutino, which means its orbit is controlled by Neptune – as is that of Pluto. (Hence the astronomical category name, yes.) Both Pluto and Orcus have orbits which are hugely off the plane of the ecliptic, too…the ‘ecliptic’ being the path of Earth around our local star – the Sun.
Most planets orbit the Sun more or less in the same plane as Earth does. But not Pluto. And not Orcus.

  It's a little hard to see in this orbital diagram, but the 'level' orbital ring of Neptune is being used here to show pretty much what the plane of the ecliptic is. As you can see, Orcus' orbit tilts in one direction (low on the left and high on the right) while Pluto's is just the opposite - hence the concept that Orcus is an 'anti-Pluto' Plutino.
(diagram generated by and courtesy of JPL's Small Body Database)
So we know that Orcus, like Pluto, carries with it some of the mystery and ‘now-you-think-it, now-you-don’t’ quality so typical of Neptune. Wherever we see Neptune’s influence, there’s always an emotional quotient. And that’s sensible to think should be true, as Neptune is the ‘outcome’ ruler of Pisces, a sign which is all about all those feelings we long to feel (which sounds oxymoronic, if you think about it)…and which at the same time has us scared to death of the power of our feelings.

All Pisces lessons ‘enter’ on a Jupiter note (since Jupiter is Pisces’ first ruler). This makes the emotional experiences…or avoidances…so common to all things Pisces and the associated 12th house a test of how well we know our emotional self (Jupiter equaling knowledge)…and what we are willing to learn about ourselves and life through emotional experience, particularly really tough, trying or even frightening emotional experiences.

We all know how this works with Pluto: Pluto is all about that which draws us, magnetizes us…Pluto is the lure in allure, the obsessing in obsessions.

But in anything Plutonic, we don’t know the truth of the thing. We’re swayed by our emotions. Our emotions gain control…which is why Pluto (and Scorpio, the sign Pluto is co-ruler of) is all about wanting control. We think we want control of ‘it’…but the truth is, we want control of ourselves. If we think ‘it’ is the issue, that’s only because we don’t have control of ourselves and we want to not run ourselves off some cliff.

Orcus will have some of that ‘emotionally reflexive’ quality too, simply because like Pluto, Orcus is a Plutino.

Another interesting Orcus factoid: it’s orbit is sufficiently offset to that of Pluto that some astronomers refer to Orcus as the ‘anti-Pluto.’

Pluto as photographed by NASA in June of 2010

Which is also very interesting – and apt – on the astrological level. Why? Because what we do know about the Roman god Orcus is that Orcus is a god of the dead. To be more precise about it, Orcus meets the soul as it passes over from life into death, and the idea was that Orcus would walk with you to where you were going to be ‘judged,’ apparently discussing all the pluses and minuses of your life with you along the way.

But let’s remember…nothing Orcus would discuss with you can now be changed – this being what makes the astronomical ‘anti-Pluto’ comment so interesting. Pluto as an astrological symbol really is about all we still have a chance to do. We may not like it, but we still have options and choices with regard to whatever that Pluto subject actually is.

Where Orcus comes into play, all is now done. So Pluto is any possible (which granted, comes with emotional risks) where Orcus is about the consequences we have to deal with, replete with feelings of nostalgia, regret or remorse.

Orcus is going retrograde at 9:30 p.m. on December 3rd (UT/+0 time) at 5 Virgo. Right away this tells us the subject matter concerns what we have done or how well we have taken care of ourselves (or loved ones) or how responsible we have been.

In going retrograde at 5 Virgo, Orcus is conjunct Royal Star Regulus at 0 Virgo, Agamemnon at 6 Virgo and fixed star Thuban along with Dionysus at 7 Virgo. The combination of Dionysus and Thuban definitely adds a note about ‘sacred obligations’ and things which perhaps have been ‘celebrated’ but come to naught. Or maybe they’re not worth the (Virgo) effort we’ve put into them, or defending them?

Regulus’ presence in this “equation” (if you will) speaks of success which only comes when we resist retribution or vengeance. But with Regulus combined with Orcus…is there some consequence for not having exacted revenge? In other words, is success now happening where we have resisted going after that pound of flesh but with that comes some overarching sense of regret?

What makes this all even trickier is the opposition to this Orcus station by Chiron, the image of those vulnerabilities in life we are really, really good at seeing in others but not so good at dealing with in our own lives.

It’s not a recipe for a whoopie-doodle moment, no. At some level, we’re facing the (Orcus) consequences of our (Chiron) vulnerabilities and what they can (Chiron/Orcus) do to us - or others.

 We don't have any photographs of Orcus as yet, but one of NASA's artists
has given this rendering of what Orcus just may look like
(image credit: NASA, May 2007)

But this can be educational. While Orcus is about ‘deeds done and choices made’ which cannot be changed, because this is our life we’re talking about, we can learn better going forward.

And maybe that’s the point. Whatever difficulties, whatever ‘endings’ we face now, maybe they have come into our lives at this time so we can learn from them and not do ‘that’ thing again in the future.

As always, we give a station like this one a two-day prior-and-after “station window.” So we can expect these Orcus ‘station effects’ to begin on December 1st and run through December 5th. The ones which happen before Orcus actually goes retrograde involve ideas which have yet to play out. Or maybe – in this case, being that it’s Orcus – where we’re going to get another chance. Or run into this same sort of dynamic again rather soon.

During the time that Orcus is retrograde, we can expect to be a little more…choosy, maybe? Or perhaps circumspect about what we do or don’t do? Following the idea that people born with Mercury in retrograde tend to feel transiting periods of Mercury retrograde less than those who have Mercury direct in their birth charts, maybe those born with Orcus in retrograde won’t feel this shift as much as those born with Orcus direct. (And if you’re going to go check this by looking up your natal Orcus somewhere online, you may want to know its astronomical number…it’s 90482.)

Orcus will be in retrograde until May 17, 2013 – at which time it will go direct at 3 Virgo. That it only moves two degrees during the whole of this time suggests that everyone with planets, axis points or nodes at very early degrees…(that’s me holding up my hand)…is in for a series of months during which lessons learned probably bear thinking about, particularly where choices have been made based on ‘getting back at’ others.

Whether we have exacted vengeance or where we’ve chosen to walk away and not do anything worse than yowl in pain (if that’s applicable)…all that is worth thinking through.

One last thought here: this would be a natural time to hear of consequences being suffered by someone else – particularly someone who ‘violated’ the ‘effort, standards, morality’ concepts which are so very Virgoan. While the burned hand teaches best, many of us learn deep-down lessons in our own lives by seeing what can happen to others.

Which is good…at least I’m guessing its good, though I wish nobody ill. It probably shouldn’t surprise me what people are capable of, but it still does.

May you and yours be well, and may all your Orcus consequences be inconsequential - except (of course!) where you can learn, benefit and thus do better as a human being!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Alcyone: The Taurus Point

 The star group known as the Pleiades
(photo credit: NASA-ESA-AURA-Caltech-Palomar, June 2004)

Currently positioned at 0 Gemini, Alcyone is a star I haven't heard about much. Nevertheless, it's part of the constellation Taurus - which certainly gives it some importance.

And there is that little fact that the South Node, Sedna and Algol are doing a mish-mosh conjunction thing - which we should probably think of as either an exacerbating or strengthening of Taurean tendencies, issues and necessities, whatever that may be in your world.

We do talk a bit about Algol in astrology. Maybe it's because Algol has acquired such a bad reputation for stubbornly self-involved reactivity (read: pig-headedness). Astrologers - like everybody else - do seem to like celestial train wrecks. (Yes, we sky ogle.) But there is always that concept that there is a good side of every astrological placement if we can understand how to get there. With Algol, it's the end to which you use/aim your reactiveness and outrage. It's the why behind the pouncing on something which counts.

No, that doesn't defend going around shouting 'Off with their head!' like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.  Being self-centered is still a Taurus downfall - as is going after money and material things purely for their own sake.

But back to Alcyone. Alcyone is not just ‘part’ of Taurus, it’s the brightest star in Taurus. So why don't we hear more about Alcyone?

Well...this is just a guess, but people do think about  Taurus as the sign of security, satisfaction and self-worth. They just don't like the process of getting to that sense of inner security, satisfaction and self-worth.

So what do people do? They try to get things which will provide them with security, satisfaction and self-worth, which isn't the point of Taurus at all.

Taurus is about what you do and how that affects how you feel about yourself. All three of the zodiac's first trio of signs (Aries, Taurus, Gemini) are focused on 'Who am I? Who can I be or become?'...Aries is the physical part, Gemini is the mental part, and Taurus is that heart, soul and sense of personal sensitivity.

Hence why Taurean Sun sign people like things which feel good and luxe goods. But those things will never make a Taurus feel good. Or safe. Or secure. And part of the 'why?' of that may lie in Alcyone - the star which is the tip of a Taurus horn.

This gets back to that old Taurus/Scorpio polarity. Scorpio is the sign of war and in that light Alcyone is the ability to go to war if needs be...with the understanding that the optimal sort of life involves not going to war at all, but finding (Scorpio) ways to live with others and keep the peace (maybe even advance the cause) by enduring our sense of possible invalidations along the 'what, my way ISN'T the high way?' experiences in the (Scorpio) interactive arena.

Having our values is one thing. Testing them is quite another. And learning that other people may have different values which are quite different and equally as valid in their life? That's Taurean security.

If the old expression 'speak softly and carry a big stick' holds water (which it tends to) and the greatest use of power is not to ever have to use that power (ditto) then Alcyone is about capacity. It's about the readying and the readiness of the Self to take on and endure through whatever life brings on. It's the (inner) knowing that you are at least secured by....whatever....and if it came to it, you would be willing to stand up for your Self.

That's self-worth. When we could saber-rattle but don't have to saber-rattle, that's because we are satisfied enough with our Self to just go about our own business.

That's Taurus. And more to...uh...the point, that seems to be the 'bright point' about Taurus - which gets back to Taurus as a star all about self-development. It's the work we put into developing our Self which we then have confidence in. Which enables - and perhaps even motivates us - to go out there and take on the world and bring home that bacon.

Or maybe that fancy car, yes! 

Constellation Taurus as pictured in the 'Uranographia' of Johannes Hevelius back in 1690

As a star, Alcyone is no shrinking violet, either. Classed as a Blue Giant, Alcyone is in the same sort of category as Thuban, Arcturus and one of the most easily found stars in the sky, Alnitak – one of the trio which makes up Orion’s starry belt. So again, considering how ‘mainline’ Thuban and Arcturus are as astrological stars, it’s interesting that Alcyone doesn’t get more press.

That it deserves our attention would seem likely. After all, Alcyone changed signs in September of the year 2000. Any time a fixed star changes signs that’s a pretty good signal that the ‘base harmonics’ of life as we know it are going to change. Maybe that change will be pretty subtle…but over time, subtle accumulates and can become a big deal.

Now positioned at 0 Gemini, Alcyone evokes and ‘lights up’ a degree described in the Sabian Symbols as “A Glass-Bottomed Boat Reveals Undersea Wonders.” Astrologer Marc Edmund Jones (he who collected the Sabian symbols to begin with) referred to this degree as ‘the revelation of unconscious energies and submerged psychic structures’ which, considering this is Gemini we are talking about, seems apt. Thus Alcyone is bringing to light unconscious energies…which with water being referenced are either emotional, or emotionally driven. (Water is always, always, always about our emotions!)

Gemini itself is an air sign – so this ‘unconscious emotionalism’ comes from and comes to us (“to light”) via the realm of mentality, thought, verbalism and choice. It will also be filled with that Gemini tendency towards ‘much, more, many, varied and variable’ which as we’ve sorted through before (in talking about the Gemini stars Castor and Pollux) tends to go for the (Castor) ‘sheer strength of numbers’ where ultimately it’s the (Pollux) thoughtful choice – replete with sacrifice where necessary – which saves the day.

And lets remember also…the ‘lit lens’ (if you will) – the Alcyone ‘quality’ through which all this Gemini-ism is funneled (yes, I just made up that word!) is still Taurean. It still aims to fulfill our personal sense of security, importance, satisfaction with our place in the world – all that.

As I started thinking through all this it didn’t seem remarkable to me – considering these ideas – that it’s just since 2000 that we’ve had the invention and rise of things like Facebook and Twitter. Particularly since whenever we find references to ‘the unconscious’ that’s not just ours but the global unconscious…the whole, the mass, that which connects us all or which is common to us all…things like Facebook and Twitter would seem to apply.

But to really understand Alcyone, we need to add in her myth. For one, Alcyone is one of the Pleiades. Seven in number, the Pleiades were the daughters of a sea-nymph (more water equals more emotion) and Atlas – the one person saddled with the task of holding the entire world on his shoulders.

 A wonderful rendition of Atlas holding the weight of a world which here is beautifully fashioned from a Nautilus
(circa 1630, housed at the Walters Art Museum)

As a group, the Pleiades were in service to Artemis – sister of Apollo. Associated with everything ‘under the Moon’ and always referred to as chaste (besides which she was the goddess of hunting and the chase) Artemis symbolizes the need to reflect on what we do and why we do it…and the Pleiades serve this cause.

We can guess that papa Atlas was probably happy with his daughters’ choice of partner, too. Not that in those primal times there was all that much choice of course.

Three of the sisters (Maia, Electra and Taygete) were taken in by Zeus. One was claimed by Ares and another turned Orion the hunter down for (of all people!) Sisyphus.

Bad choice, that. Sisyphus ends up being one of the great sinners in all of Greek myth and in astrological form embodies that edgy testiness we feel when we know we can take advantage of a situation (or person) and know we shouldn’t. The fact that Sisyphus falls prey to his inner carnal weakness is a commentary on how easy it is to do just that.

Even if we always pay. Maybe the injured party doesn’t catch us. Maybe we get away with the nasty moment, the illicit act, the misuse of power.

The truth is, we only get away with it on the surface. We always know. We will always bear the scar of having known we did ill when we didn’t have to.

I’m really thinking this one sister would have done better to marry the hunter. At least Orion has a fabulous belt. As the story goes, he chased all the Pleiades – and caught not a one of them.

Maybe he wasn’t that good a hunter?

As for Alcyone, she and her sister Celaeno were claimed by Poseidon (aka Neptune) which in underscoring the idea of emotionalism tells us that Alcyone is part of the urge – even that which ‘goads’ us to become part of the ‘emotional mass consciousness’ of life which has come to be part of life really since the year 2000.

 The Pleiades by Elihu Vedder
(1885, oil on canvas, housed at Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC)

The ‘up’ side of 0 Gemini is that it implies a fresh mentality. For those of us born prior to the year 2000 we are challenged by the new and challenged to reformulate our perspective on life as a whole. For those born after September of 2000 (the month Alcyone moves into Gemini) the whole of life…and their life will be part of this new and different world of communication and perception.

Yes, it’s something to think about, parents. Your kids are made not of ‘different stuff’ than we are, but along a different line of perspective than we were born with. What we have had to learn will be native to our children, who will grow up in a world which indeed has the ability to see into the depths of our lives as through a glass-bottomed boat.

Of course there’s a down side to 0 Gemini too. That down side is the naiveté, the vulnerability which comes as the other side of a fresh, clean outlook. 0 Gemini is really Gemini at its least experienced…and thus probably at Gemini’s least reflective.

Maybe self-measured is a better way to put it.

And that may mean that Alcyone is asking us to ask ourselves 'what's the point?' before we take something on. Before we join that crowd. Before we sign onto that standard. Or even taken on that job.

Also to be considered here is how at 0 Gemini, the Alcyone ‘vibe’ is also colored by Algol - what with Algol being currently positioned at 26 Taurus. But then, after rolling through the star charts back to about 2,000 BCE and forward to 2,200 CE, it seems to have always been that way.

So Alcyone - which we're seeing here as a sign about our ability to do things - may 'suffer' some from the Algol 'because I can' sort of vibe. Hence malice. Hence materialism. Hence....

A star on the tip of Taurus horn…is that life goading us? Is that us human types attempting to ward off that which makes us uncomfortable? Is that 'I only want the cherry on top, never mind what it takes to milk the cows and make ice cream' marking us as self-indulgent and unrealistically so?

Maybe yes.

Yet at the same time, through the implied connection with Neptune and Artemis, Alcyone would also seem to represent a myriad of possibilities which we tap into through recognizing how we are connected to others. And how that connectivity and our ability to 'drive the point home' needs to be judiciously used if we hope to achieve our aims and not just get put out to pasture in the regards of other people.

Our new age is filled with new prospects which we can tap into, of course. But to make the most of that, maybe we need to look deep inside our Self. Maybe we need to be honest about how secure or insecure we really are and how that plays out in our it affects our relationships and our ability to relate to others and be related to in turn.

The bull is a noble beast. Yet plenty of bulls will shake their heads and threaten even when there's no evidence of danger.

What is our point? What do we lead with? Do we over-react? If so, why do we do that? What do we need to do to understanding our own feelings - and how that which stirs us doesn't just connect us to one another, but is probably the very thing which humans have most in common?

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Lunar Eclipse at 6 Gemini

 The above image is adapted from a photograph made by Juan Iacruz
of a lunar eclipse in progress.

Where solar eclipses tend to strike awe in the human heart, lunar eclipses seem to fascinate us. And perhaps that’s a reflection of the difference between our relationship between Sun and Moon.

We depend on the Sun for our very life and survival. But the Moon? We love our Luna Moon. We love to canoodle by moonlight and dream our finest dreams while the Moon seems to smile down on us from above. We love walking along sandy beaches playing tag with the tides, feeling the Moon’s tug on our hearts as we reflect on the lunar-like pulse of  everyday life.

November 28th is a lunar eclipse. Occurring at 2:34 in the afternoon, UT/+0, this eclipse is positioned at 6 Gemini. Like all lunar eclipses – all of which are a form of Full Moons – this eclipse will mark an emotional ‘high tide’ moment. For good, for ill, for the delight or the angst of it, feelings, hopes, the very sense of sensation now rides high.

It also fades fairly quickly – in celestial terms, that is. While solar eclipses evolve over three years with their ‘purpose’ (what we are finally led to understand about life) not often understood until very near to the end of that time, lunar eclipses are not only immediate, but short-lived. By three months from now this moment – though not forgotten – will have evolved into something else.

As a degree, the broad brushstrokes on 6 Gemini would involve ideas, mentality, transportation, communication, organization and schedules. It will also involve a choice. As life has taught us certainly of late, sometimes the ‘obvious’ ability to choose is taken out of our hands. But the choice of how to deal with whatever life hands us? That often remains ours even when someone (or something) else has already checked all the boxes.

Narrowing the Gemini field a bit more, 6 Gemini is one of those degrees which is very divided. With some degrees the Gemini choice is ‘do this…or do that?’ or ‘this first…or that first?’. But here the choice is far more stark – it’s simply between feelings and what we might refer to as ‘thoughtful’ or ‘intellectualized’ mentality.

Interestingly, this degree also speaks of a tendency to understand the ‘surface’ of a subject, but not go into it with all that much depth. There is a desire here to ‘just get on with it’ and to ‘get it done’ which can cause a great deal of trouble simply when that very lack of depth which manifests as a drive for analytical functionality actually ends up destroying relationships.

Lacks exhibited or experienced at this time are likely to feel like dim-wittedness or stupidity. But they’re not. They’re simply a result of lack of integration…which brings us back to that age-old story of the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux.

And maybe that's also been a choice. Then again, maybe not.

The full tale of the Gemini Twins is told HERE, as part of the May 2012 Solar Eclipse post. In case you're short on time, we'll cut to the chase here and just go with the idea of how Pollux – the intellectual and immortal twin (Castor is emotional and mortal) gives his own life to save his brother by trading that life ‘in reality’ for an eternal life among the stars.

This isn’t an easy lesson or idea. And though many of us are more comfortable with intellect or emotionality, the Gemini ‘choice’ (and Gemini is all about what we choose to do-or-be or not to do-or-be) only reaches ‘immortal status’ when we sacrifice a bit of one thing in the creating of the whole something which lasts…and which we can forever admire.

And this isn’t about ‘me versus them.’ This is about our regulation of our Self and of our own mentality and emotions.

6 Gemini points out the flaw in being one thing or the other. It brings out the flaws in putting all our emotions in one place and all our intellectual, rational thinking in another.

It brings out the challenge in integrating the want and the idea, and how that means there things about being a human being which are just downright tough.

All these issues – garbed in the guise of whatever is going on in your life (and life in general) – are what is likely to come to the surface now. So what’s likely to happen? Answer: anything which provokes these tendencies on each of our parts…and everything which has become problematic because of our tendency to act in this manner.

If you have any planet, axis point or node within five degrees of 6 Gemini or any of the ‘hard’ aspects to 6 Gemini (which would be between 1 and 11 degrees of Gemini, Sagittarius, Virgo or Pisces) this eclipse will hit you hardest. But remember – this is not a solar eclipse. So even if you find it changes your attitude or hurts your feelings way deep down to the core, this is not something which is necessarily life changing…merely attitude changing.

 Lunar Eclipse of November 28, 2012 at 2:34 p.m. (UT/+0)
 - Aries Wheel, Location Not Specific -

That doesn’t make it easier to deal with, absolutely not! Lunar eclipses sometimes live to become our most ‘infamous’ moments simply because as people we tend to ‘live’ in our emotions…which is true even for those who think they’re not into emotionalism. Such people are often so sensitive that they can’t even deal with emotions – so they run from them lickety-split!

But the essential difference between lunar and solar eclipses certainly stands. Lunar eclipses tend to be about ‘the human experience,’ if you will. Solar eclipses – particularly when they strike your chart with any acuity – mark changes which will change your life. The failed promotion, the romance gone sour is one thing - the lunar eclipse thing. The illness which cripples you, or the loss of a family member – that changes your life and your orientation towards life. That’s a solar eclipse.

That as this eclipse occurs the Moon (at 6 Gemini) is conjunct Atropos (endings), Hybris (arrogance) and Scheherazade (the story told) on one side and Black Moon Lilith and Aldebaran (integrity) on the other is also interesting. The Atropos-Hybris-Scheherazade side of things sounds very much like the ‘end of some self-serving tale’…but is that the end of the tale, or is that our ending our belief in something we’ve been told?

Certainly with Black Moon Lilith and Aldebaran at 8 and 9 Gemini respectively, this can go either way. Black Moon Lilith is being denied by society (or social groups) or denying some truth you’re being told by society or some group. Either way, the Black Moon has to do with some sort of rejecting or rejection – that’s the Lilith quality. But with the (Gemini) choice here being ours, this may be something we choose to reject, or which because of our choice we get rejected for.

Or maybe this happened in the past, so we choose to think that, or in that way. Or we thought some choice was the right choice…which maybe hasn’t turned out to be true.

Now that we have that much down, let’s add in the eclipse’s subtext and complications…

They come to us in the form of two planetary pictures, the first of which is a t-square.

Because t-squares always go in a zodiacal “forward” direction placing the ‘hurdle’ of the t-square in the middle, this one begins with the Sun – our consciousness, our conception. With this Sun being placed in Sagittarius, the ‘theme’ here would be ‘how we think things work’ or ‘how things work,’ depending.
With the Sun (by degree) we have Tantalus, an emblem of what we’re tempted by…or tempted to try and get away with, knowing on both counts that whatever it is, we probably “shouldn’t.”

But we’re pretty fixed – or maybe fixated, even obsessed with what we’re doing, our opinion, how we want things to be or with some notion that we can make it work and have our ‘tantalization’ work in our favor. All of this comes courtesy (if that’s the word!) of Antares, one of those infamously famous royal stars.

With Antares, the lesson is that we succeed ONLY when we don’t get obsessed. But with Tantalus in this mix…?

Right away this begins to suggest that anything which has (past tense) been based on what we thought we could get away with, or what we wanted to be true, or what we wanted to feel we were entitled to do regardless…anything we’ve done or set in motion to be built based on this sort of headstrong premise hits a bump in the road now. Your whole apple cart may even get overturned.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t want what we want, as someone once put it to me. And many of us are going to make that choice now – apparently with the division of feelings from rational thinking contributing to the mix.

The ‘t’ in a t-square being that thing we need to get past or get ‘over’ in ourselves (generally at an ego level) is composed of Lilith (emotional denial), Fomalhaut (success only where the process or goal isn’t corrupt, corrupted or corruptive), Chiron (vulnerabilities of the ‘healer, heal thyself’ type) and Niobe, the emblem of ‘pride goeth before the fall’ and all that.

In this grouping, Chiron stands out as Chiron symbolizes all those things which we don’t want to do even though not doing them is hampering us or otherwise getting in our way. Typically, when we see other people doing our Chiron thing we think they’re idiots. Let someone else quail from doing our Chiron thing and we’ll tell them ‘that’s what you SHOULD be doing!’ with nary a qualm.

Chiron is where we stumble over our own ego and our own reluctance and our own vulnerabilities and insecurities. So to have Chiron at the ‘t’ of a t-square makes it pretty obvious that there’s a reluctance to do something we know (deep inside) we really need to do. In Pisces, the overall definition is ‘not just feeling your feelings, but feeling how you feel ABOUT your feelings and getting in touch which where and how your feelings came to be.’

All of that is dangerous emotional ground. After all, many of us flinch at the whole idea of changing emotional course. What will people think? Or how about that tendency so many of us have to not want to question anything about our parents? Or our children? Or our spouse? Or our faith? Or our culture?

Pisces also represents long term and end-of-life situations. How many of us are able to deal at all well with death? How many of us have dealt with the loss of people we’ve loved all that well? Even when we simply ‘lose’ someone in the sense of a broken marriage or a treasured friendship which has somehow gone awry, that can hurt in ways many of us can’t bring ourselves to face.

Again, because this pertains to the lunar eclipse, the question here is whether you have dealt with both the rational and emotional quotients. Discovering where they may have parted ways and dealing with that would be a really good way to solve this t-square. As would be the letting go of whatever (Niobe) pride defenses you may have put up. After all, who are they really limiting?

The ‘goal’ in this t-square is what we talked about initially in terms of this lunar eclipse. Combining the (Pisces) t-square with the eclipse, this suggests that compulsions or feeling you ‘had no other choice’ was really your not wanting to deal with the emotions which would have gone with some other choice.

And then we come to the Yod.

The Yod which goes with this lunar eclipse appears to be particularly challenging - and potent so. Known as one of the most ‘fated’ feeling images in all astrology, which is interesting in and of itself seeing that Yods are composed of two 150-degree aspects which focus on a single point (in this case, the Moon and Black Moon Lilith, the denying of others or society...or to be denied by them).

In operational terms, Yods tempt us to remain at the ‘point’ of the ‘Y’. And seeing that 150-degree aspects (known as 'inconjuncts') denote "adjustments" which need to be made, while there's an argument to be made for people not liking being made to do anything (yes, well...we are human!) the Yod pictures a singular sort of understanding that we've been....well, maybe 'cornered' is the best word.

Hence the 'fated' part. Some people feel life is 'fated' because they don't want to make the effort (or deal with the emotional fracas) which standing up and being your own person involves. Then again, sometimes life really does lead us to a place where we don't have any other choice but to change.

Both are very Yod-like. 

As for this Yod, the factors which are with us now are delineated by the two points (or here, groupings) which form the ‘cup’ of the ‘Y’…which here is Pluto-Mars-Facies in Capricorn on one side and Venus, Hebe, Medea and Saturn on the other side in Scorpio.

Being that Gemini is an assertive (yang) sign and Capricorn and Scorpio are both responsive-receptive (yin) signs, the (Sun/Tantalus) temptation here will be to (Gemini) choose to negate or deny what others say, what the (Capricorn) rules and standards are, what others (Scorpio) need or want…even the (Scorpio) right of others to be treated as equals and a participant in the conversation.

And even when we go to the “solution” for a Yod – which involves going to the midpoint between the two ‘Y’ points, what’s that? That’s Sagittarius. In fact…isn’t that the Sun-Tantalus-Antares position we just talked about?

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is. With the eclipse at 6 Gemini the technical opposition is 6 Sagittarius, a degree all about being of service. Anything else goes unrewarded or is – ultimately – unrewarding.

Which in a sense does give us an answer here. If this ‘service is the path’ is the solution to the Yod, that means the solution to the Yod …AND whatever quandary we face now is found through starting with an attitude of service, even if you interpret that as ‘do yourself a favor…’ or being of service to yourself.

Once there, then we work through the t-square.

And if you think about it, that probably truly does describe the difference between the original choice to deny what others say and what we don’t want to hear and…will I stop holding on to some form of denial about what I need to be in this life? Will I let go of the stories I’ve been telling myself?

It’s an interesting moment, this eclipse. Hopefully it brings you some insights and ways to get hold of your challenges, becoming more productive in the process.

Whatever happens, at least enjoy it. Lunar eclipses are fascinating. They give us a moment to reflect – and moments to reflect on.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Mercury Direct Reminder

 Pandora by John William Waterhouse (1896)

Now that everybody in the US has gotten Black Friday out of their system (or hair, depending) it's time to consider this: Mercury will go direct today on Monday, November 26th at 10:49 p.m., UT/+0 time.

That means that the "standard" allowance going into this station begins as this post goes up on Saturday, November 24th.

(And yes, there may have been twinges of Mercurial station effects even while you were out there shopping on Friday!)

Station allowance extensions aside, from the 26th, we move forward. Considering where Mercury is going direct (at 18 Scorpio). And that as it moves forward the first things which will be encountered (astrologically, that is) are Klotho (beginnings) and Pandora, a symbol about all which life throws at us while asking us to hold onto hope.

One suspects the week ahead will be interesting, to say the least.

Pandora carries with it that famous note of ‘swirling ills of the world’ which can be seriously testing. And that the objects currently just beyond Pandora (and within orb of Mercury's station station position) are Huya and Industria suggests that we will do best and accomplish the most through work or effort (Industria), succeeding in particular where we offer lessons we’ve personally learned the hard way.

And yes...for some, this will be the moment when you learn some lesson the hard way. That probably depends on how you (Mercury) think, and whether you think first and last in terms of (Scorpio) yourself or whether you are aware of others and willing to take everybody's needs, aims and priorities into account without trying to dominate, control, deny or manipulate them...or the situation.

Mercury stationing at 18 Scorpio is a sign of great emotionality which above all asks us what it is that we hold dear and why it’s so important to us.

Sometimes such a moment teaches us that what we’ve been holding onto really isn’t as important as where that idea of holding onto it comes from. In other words, is the ‘thing’ as important as the person or life moment which caused us to value it? Mom’s baking dish may be hugely sentimental to us, but the sentiment is about Mom and what Mom baked in that dish, not the heat-proof glass of the dish itself, right?

Do we value things correctly? That would seem to be the question now as (yes) half the world goes out shopping - which does make Pandora "opening the box" something of an interesting image for this event, don't you think?

Also...just incidentally - what do we think of Mercury going direct on Cyber Monday? Will it be an online squeaker? Or will stores rake in the big cheese? Only your mouse knows this part for sure, though since this station will take us right into the lunar eclipse on November 28th, choice is everything! it's not everything. As someone who has watched this stuff for some time, computers (particularly commercial computers) do the oddest things during Mercury stations. So print out those receipts and double check your statements. Try not to get over-rushed or over-hassled and be careful with your credit/debit cards and money.

Better to be safe than to find yourself standing in your kitchen in the dead of night going "EEEEK!," right?


Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Month of Pluto-Facies

Thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, we now know that Pluto has three moons:
Charon (which it rotates with rather in the fashion of a binary star), Nix and Hydra
(photo credit: NASA, JPL, HST Pluto Companion Search Team, 2005)

Facies is a point in our sky which has a not-so-nice reputation. And there’s no doubt but that this year’s Pluto conjunction of fixed star Facies has brought out many things in many people. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen people enjoy acting so badly. I've also never known of so many people dealing with so many complicated problems which at this point really just have to be dealt with!

Of course there’s been the personal level of Pluto-Facies and the more global effects. War, social strife, economic or natural upheavals...they all strike me as very Pluto-Facies.

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t faced some sort of pronounced personal challenge this year. It's been tough. And yet, if we meet our challenges and through that learn more about who we are, I can only hope this will mean better things and better times for all of us moving forward.

Do hard times have to come? I tend to think yes. They may be individual they may be societal. Whatever they are, they seem to be how life causes us to learn about ourselves as people and for the unique potentials we each hold. Perhaps part of the reason the generation which came to adulthood in the 1920’s and 30’s is known (in America at least) as ‘the greatest generation’ is because this group of people (and not just in the United States) went through so much. First came a wave of economic world-wide recessions and depressions in the late 20s and early 30s. Then came World War II - which was a disaster no matter where you lived or what side you were on.

 In weathering terrible difficulties, people learn how to weather difficulties. And in getting past huge challenges, they become far less daunted by lesser challenges. That seems a cycle in human life and times, and if you look at the etchings of history, one of those cycles indeed seems to come every 240-plus years or so as Pluto conjuncts Facies. 

But no, it isn't simple. Pluto conjunct Facies is about anything and everything which gets a response out of us. That can come from within...or through provocations or problems with others. Or the environment. Or the seeming winds of fate. With Facies involved and Facies being a nebula, whatever happens involves ‘a lot of separate things’...which together usually tie us up in knots.

So this year hasn’t been easy. But it probably wasn’t meant to be easy. If life wants us to learn, life is going to throw at us whatever we need to experience. And as one thing leads to another and complications build, first we grow more fractious and more defensive-aggressive.

Then we figure it out. Back when I used to do tech support and teach people production accounting software, I'd warn newbees that until they got to the point that they wanted to throw 'that fool computer' out the window, they probably hadn't reach that point when it all would gel.

Nobody threw a computer out the window (that I know of) on my watch. 

So we all see more, we're all forced through exposure to experience more. Through having to take the good with bad and the 'what we don't like' with what we do like, we eventually come to something which will stand us – and others – in good stead.

That's the theory of the process.

If you're standing on Earth and looking up at the night sky without a good telescope,
M22 (Messier 22, otherwise known as Facies) looks like a single star - which this
 photograph reveals as hardly the truth of it. But it's an interesting thought...something
we think of one which has a myriad of 'little pieces' or factors we have to sort through,
understand and think through if we're to affect the greater 'whole.' The difficulty of this
is probably part of why Facies has gotten such a nasty reputation in astrological 
terms - but that doesn't mean we should give up!
(photo credit: Hewholooks, June 2009)

Pluto began its build-up to this year of Pluto/Facies conjunction starting back in 2009. And now, as Pluto sits in conjunction with Facies for a full month we will be challenged to gain, hold and learn from a greater perspective on others, on life…and most of all on ourselves.

Is this beyond your ability? Probably not. But beyond your willingness? Maybe so.

That’s the Pluto/Facies test.

The date of exactitude with regards to this conjunction is December 7th…an echo of the same date in 1941 which in American history ‘will live in infamy’ as the day when American was summoned to join WWII.

Here in 2012, this conjunction at 8 Capricorn will have Europa and Nemesis just ahead and Medusa somewhat behind. Since Europa is ‘getting carried away’ and Nemesis is ‘standing up for the unpopular thing’ it may be easy to overstep our boundaries.

Then again, with Medusa at 0 Capricorn this seems a time when we need to face things. Particularly things which we would like to ‘put behind us’ which for whatever reason refuse to go away.

The key to how to handle matters probably comes from Saturn, which at 7 Scorpio is in a near-perfect sextile to the conjunction. There would seem to be an opportunity to move ahead now, and communication is required. But it’s important that we don’t just say what we think someone else wants to hear, as that will surely backfire. Reaching out is favored now, provided we take the aims, needs and feelings of others into account. Basically, if we respect and care about them, they’ll respect and care about us.

And if they don’t, what you’re likely to see is the dark side of their Pluto-Facies nature. You may not want to see that, but maybe you should. This is in keeping with the idea that Saturn in Scorpio always asks us to face our ‘social fears,’ but don’t think in limited terms here.

Also, given that Pluto symbolizes such formative and powerful life experiences, a special shout-out goes to those who have birthdays during this month-long (November 22nd – December 22nd) period, as well. Your solar chart is going to have Pluto-conjunct-Facies in it. That makes your ‘birthday year’ 2012-2013 a very important and powerful time. I hope you’ll make the best and most positive use of it!

(On yes…the same comment applies to those whose birthdays fall between December 24 and January 3rd. Why? Because your natal Sun conjuncts Facies. So 2012 has been a year of challenges and changes and 2012-2013 will continue that trend.) 

 M22 (which we know as Facies) is positioned 'just offshore' from the main body of
the constellation Sagittarius
(sky chart for December 7, 2012 generated using Stellarium software) 

Since Pluto has a 248.09 year orbital cycle, we’re not going to see this transit come by again during our lifetime.

Well…except for a few days during 2013 when Pluto will retrograde back into 8 Capricorn. That period starts on September 14th. Then Pluto will take its station at 8 Capricorn and go direct there on September 20th, after which it will finally exit the degree on September 26th.

Does this mean that things of this moment will ‘echo’ back to us next September? They can, yes. But for those who set out on a resolute path to sort and deal with the ‘many parts’ of whatever their challenge is, this November/December 2012 though September 2013 period may well outline the period of time it will take to get new things moving, reorganized and into gear.

This is hardly what I wanted to post on Thanksgiving Day, but the job of a metaphysician is not always jolly. To all those celebrating today, as a fellow American I wish you and yours all the fulfilling best. To everyone regardless of where you live or what your day will be occupied doing, I wish you insight and perseverance.

May we all learn to grow more peacefully.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pallas Direct in Pisces

 A 1899 photo-engraving of a statue known as the 'Pallas Giustiniani'
currently housed in the Vatican of Rome

If you’re in the UT/+0 time zone, Pallas goes direct in Pisces on Thursday November 22nd at 1:25 in the morning – four tick-tock minutes after Venus enters Scorpio.

So whatever else we can say, we know these this is both a “Pallas moment” and a “Venus moment.”

And what exactly do we know about Pallas in Pisces? Well, that would start with Pallas, a very unemotional symbol of thought. Call it esoteric or logical or maybe philosophical thought. Certainly in Pisces emotions would be a consideration…but Pallas itself is never a symbol of emotionality. Maybe thoughts about emotions, certainly. But emotionality as in ‘emotional thinking’? That seems unlikely as Pallas (aka Pallas Athena) is a goddess who springs full grown from the brow (brain) of Zeus – aka Jupiter.

Which brings us to a few interesting factoids about Pallas. One is that it’s another one of those objects which is in magnetic resonance with a planet – the planet in this case (not really shockingly) being Jupiter.

The basic ratio here is 18:7, meaning that for every 18 cycles of Pallas, Jupiter orbits the sun 7 times. This may mean nothing to you, but if you’re into numbers and things astronomical, astrological and metaphysical, this rings a bell along the Saturn and Lunar Node lines, what with the lunar nodes having an orbital length of 18.6 years and 7 being a classic Saturn number…and (oh incidentally) the age at which kids acquire the sense of reason, individuation and separation.

(Which yes, they promptly lose again for a few years when they hit those terrible teens!)

All of the above would seem to tie Pallas in with the growth (Jupiter), accomplishment (Saturn), and worldly (Nodal) integration factor which leads to achievement. In other words, achievement depends on thinking, whether or not emotions are part of the mix.

Another astronomical note comes from the fact that Pallas’ orbit takes it very much ‘off’ the plane of the ecliptic, as shown here in this orbital diagram generated by JPL for November 22, 2012:

 diagram courtesy of JPL
According to this diagram, Pallas is currently quite nearly at one end of its rather oblong orbit…yet rather close to the ecliptic. So while we may think that on the whole Pallas’ dispassionate way of thinking is part and parcel (or emblematic) of our ability to get perspective, at the moment that perspective may be lacking as Pallas is close to being on our “basis” (the ecliptic). It’s also at one extreme.

Does this mean our thinking currently lacks some perspective and may tend towards extremes? Maybe, although let’s remember – Pallas is a very particular pencil in our mental toolbox. So maybe ‘bias’ is a better word.

One more piece of astro-theory here. In going to the lists of aphelion and perihelion (near and far points to/from the Sun) for Pallas, another little curious tidbit jumped out.

Pallas’ outermost orbital point (it’s aphelion, or farthest distance from the Sun) is just inside Jupiter’s near point. Another link to Jupiter, yes.

But there appears to be a ‘neighboring factor’ here. And that neighbor is known as Hybris – the symbol of hubris, otherwise known as arrogance.

In this simplistic representation of the orbits of Hybris and Pallas,
their far and near points from the Sun are listed in 'AU' notation.
'AU' stands for 'astronomical units,' with one AU equaling the average
(mean) distance from the Sun to planet Earth. 
They’re not synonymous, but this would seem to give us a clue as to why people think being smart equates to being arrogant. And why intelligence often seems so ‘feeling-less.’

You know the old saying, “truth hurts”?

But to look at this another way, perhaps to deny one’s intelligence is a different form of arrogance. Who are we, after all, to waste the gifts we were born with?

In going direct at 22 Pisces, Pallas is in a the most worldly and ‘expressive’ decanate of a sign all about not just feeling our feelings, but being made to feel our reactions to feelings…and all which goes with that. Sometimes we’ll escape into something which elicits good feelings so we don’t have to feel anything else, sometimes we’ll do all we can to avoid feeling anything or being confronted with anything which could make us feel anything…and sometimes life just foists such moments upon us.

In the last decan of any sign, that sign manifests at the worldly or ‘impersonal’ level – not that emotions or people’s feelings are anything to dismiss. But that may be what you want to do now. Will Pallas going direct mean you’ll get dealt with more coolly by others? Or merely on the basis of the facts, never mind anyone’s emotionality?

Will there be so much emotionality in the air or in life or the world that logic requires that we back off simply so as to protect our sensibilities?

As a moment in time…there was a solar eclipse on November 13th and there will be a lunar eclipse on November 28th. By metaphysical definition, this is an unsettled time pretty much across the board.
So maybe Pallas going direct – with ‘direct’ meaning putting it ‘out there’ or that someone comes at us from an external source – maybe that means this is when we begin getting a handle on things and our ability to get them all sorted out?

Maybe, but there would seem to be a cost. The degree 22 Pisces has a weird reputation which has a distinct quality and concept of is ‘entanglement.’ This can be intimate, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. And no matter what the situation, since this is Pallas in your chart, the part of it that you need to deal with is your reaction.

 Planet Venus as photographed through a telescope by Mac Lecleire in August 2010

Apparently this is a moment when we should try to be dispassionate.

As Pallas goes direct, it does so in conjunction with Chaldaea, a symbol of ‘the old way’ or in some instances, ‘time honored’ ideas – be they traditions, teachings, ways of doing things…whatever. Call it the ‘status quo’ or ‘what you’re used to’ and go from there.

So are we going to be asked to think through the ‘old way’ (or the status quo) and decide if it needs changing? Or are we being asked to use what we know to be true in managing some current situation?

This would seem to be where it’s probably sensible to bring Venus back into this discussion. Venus symbolizes ‘results’ – the ‘what you get’ for who you are, how you present yourself (or what you’ve made or done) or your idea, reputation, relationship, aims, etcetera.

But then comes the Scorpio part. If you read the Venus entering Scorpio post, you know the challenge with this combination is taking the needs, aims and values of others into account even though we plainly all have our goals, aims and preferences.

And this is where Pallas may very well help. Seeing that Venus in Scorpio is successful when we can be a little ‘chill’ on what we want long enough to make sure everybody gets an equal measure of what they need or want…then maybe Pallas’ lack of passion and ability to bring perspective to the situation means that as Pallas goes direct we will all find better ways to express ourselves and move towards our goals. Maybe we’ll have just the right combination of personal passion and attentiveness to others to be able to come up with great solutions to large problems. Or maybe this is when we’ll be able to get some tough point across with a minimum of ego-bruises.

Considering that Pallas is only about 3% the size of the Moon, there’s still plenty of metaphysical room for everybody’s feelings. And since Venus in Scorpio is a winning theme when we share and hold others on a par with ourselves, maybe that’s just what we’ll now have the opportunity to enjoy!